Tuesday, May 12, 2009

¡Adiós, Elder Kenison!

I returned home late this evening from Church assignments, wondering where my son was. I was able to check current status of his flight and found the picture to the right (as of about 11 p.m.). Wow!!

We're sure it has been a long and somewhat poignant day for Matt, as it has been for his family! He spent the morning packing, then left the MTC about noon. He got to the airport and checked in (total 97 pounds of checked luggage, just under the 100 pound limit! Hurrah!).

We got our first phone call from the SLC airport. How good to hear his voice!! After losing the connection once, we enjoyed chatting for about 40 minutes or so. We talked about all kinds of things, exploring details of the things that were somewhat superficial in his letters. We were again impressed by a couple of things:
  • his great efforts to be obedient, even when he sometimes sees other missionaries "stretch" the rules a little. He's really trying to "obey with exactness" and we know he'll be blessed for that.
  • his love for sharing the Gospel and his testimony. He really did enjoy the experiences in talking with "real investigators" in the referral center. He commented how great it was to hear their questions, to be able to share his thoughts and testimony, and occasionally, to have the challenge of studying and preparing a response. He shared with us some of the things he taught, and we enjoyed hearing how well he remembered scriptural references and concepts.
  • his desire to learn and to do his best. He's a bit apprehensive about Spanish, knowing it will be a struggle for a while — especially when confronted with native speakers. But his heart is definitely right and he will be able to share the spirit even before the words are perfect. He's even hoping and praying for a native companion! (We're not sure we are!)
He had to leave to get on the plane, so we went back to work and other activities. But we got a second call this evening from Dallas. He was being careful what he eats there (since he has had previous bad experiences with getting sick in the Dallas airport). But he seemed to be growing in his excitement, and apprehension. There's a bit of comfort in just being in Provo, in familiar surroundings, even seeing a familiar face now and then. But leaving the country for 22 months, knowing how far away it is, and how strange the surroundings and experiences will be — that has a whole different impact.

When it came time to end, it was easy to say "I love you." It was great to be able to say, "I'm so proud of you" and "I will be praying for you, more than ever." But it was very hard to say "goodbye." We'll miss our son and brother. God bless you, Elder Kenison!


  1. Nice post. I've been thinking of him all day.

  2. I hadn't realized you'd started a blogpost for Matt's Mission. What a great idea. I'll look forward to staying updated through it.